New Zealand: At least four injured in supermarket stabbing

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A police car is observed blocking an entrance to the Dunedin Central Countdown on May 10, 2021 in Dunedin, New Zealand.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A police car blocking an entrance to the Dunedin Central Countdown, where the stabbing took place

Four people have been injured, three of whom are now in a critical condition, after a stabbing attack at a New Zealand supermarket.

The stabbing took place at a Countdown store in the city of Dunedin on the South Island.

Bystanders tackled the attacker, who was then arrested.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the motive was not clear but that there was no indication it was a domestic terror event.

Police district commander Paul Basham described Monday's incident as a random attack.

He said it was "nothing short of heroic" that shoppers and staff had stopped the attacker.

Incidents of mass violence are rare in New Zealand but the country saw the 2019 Christchurch shooting when a white supremacist killed more than 50 people at two mosques.

Local media reports say the four injured on Monday are made up of both supermarket employees and customers.

Police said the suspect sustained a minor injury and was receiving medical attention under police guard. He has not not yet been charged.

The names of the victims and the suspect have not been made public.

Witnesses described chaotic scenes at the supermarket as the attack unfolded.

"We just heard a scream and thought someone must've fallen, but it got louder and louder and more people were screaming," an unnamed woman told the Otago Daily Times.

"I saw one red hand among the people; a bloody hand, and everybody started running towards the exits."

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Countdown said in a media statement that it was "shocked and devastated by the events in our store" in Dunedin - a city with a population of about 130,000.

"Our priority right now is our injured team members and caring for our wider team in the wake of this extremely traumatic event," it said.

"We are deeply upset that customers who tried to help our team members were also injured."

It added that the store would remain closed for the rest of Monday and on Tuesday.

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